This mood-shifting suite starts with a young Beyoncé accepting a Sammy Davis Jr. Award at a Houston talent show. We hear the future starlet thanking her parents and her beloved H-town. Beyoncé proceeds to sing about refusing to succumb to the pressures that her record label puts her under to make commercial "boring" music.
The stream of consciousness verse was penned by the song's producer Boots one night at 5am. He recalled: "I had met with a record label earlier in the afternoon and they had heard some of the songs I was working on for the Beyoncé album and said 'That's so interesting Beyoncé is doing weird records like this…. Once that comes out we can put stuff out like that too!'"
"I was so appalled with the fact that record labels don't view music as art anymore," Boots continued. "They view it as product. So I wrote this late one sleepless night and it turned into an entire stream of consciousness about whatever came to mind, the state of myself, the state of pop music, the overall state of the world and most of all, people blindly going about their daily life as worker drones but ultimately not doing anything to be happy."
"I showed it to Bey a few days later and she was over the moon about it, and got real fired up," Boots added. "She said it was something she had been wanting to express for so long… We worked together to perfect it for her and this is the final product."
The song was originally titled "Ghost Around," which Boots explained is, "a term I made up for something always being there, always being around and nobody knows it."
Both "Ghost Around" and the original version of "Haunted," "I'm On To You" were originally included on Boots' SoundCloud. The producer's online audio distribution platform contained several reference tracks for Beyoncé
, but the songs were swiftly taken down once her album was dropped. (Source of above two quotes: Rap Genius
"Ghost" blends seamlessly into the second half of the song, which is a spacey, eerie erotic ballad in which a woman is haunted by her lover in a spooky yet sexy way.
Beyoncé is a "visual album," which includes 17 full-length videos. The singer explained she wanted to return to Michael Jackson's era when the visuals told the story of the song. "I see music," said the R&B songstress. "It's more than just what I hear … I immediately see a visual or a series of images that are tied to a feeling or an emotion, a memory from my childhood, thoughts about life, my dreams or my fantasies. And they're all connected to the music."
The song's haunting atmosphere is coupled with a video that was filmed by director Jonas Akerlund on August 10, 2013. The creepy, part horror, part psychosexual fantasy clip finds Beyoncé wandering around a big mansion with rooms containing all kinds of freaks and weirdoes. "Part of my challenge with her is to take her to places that maybe she hasn't been," Åkerlund said of the clip. "And, maybe take a step out her comfort zone."
The "Haunted" part of the song was used as the background track for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie trailer.
The music video for "Ghost" was an inspiration for the design of the 78-story Premier Tower, a skyscraper in Melbourne, Australia's central business district. Australian firm Elenberg Fraser said in a press release: "For those more on the art than science side, we will reveal that the form does pay homage to something more aesthetic - we're going to trust you've seen the music video for Beyoncé's 'Ghost.'"